The late Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been honored worldwide for her humble and selfless service to the poorest of humanity.
Who was Mother Teresa?
Born Agnex Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a Catholic nun who founded Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity ministry in Calcutta, India. For nearly 50 years, Mother Teresa fed and served needy orphans, AIDS patients, lepers, tuberculosis victims, homeless families and indigent people through this outreach.
In 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year, she was honored with India’s Bharat Ratna for humanitarianism. In 1985, 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan and American First Lady Nancy Reagan presented Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom (see photo).
Mother Teresa was beatified (sainted) posthumously in 2003 by Pope John Paul II and renamed Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
During her lifetime, although she never sought the proverbial spotlight, the diminutive and humble Mother Teresa was often quoted by Catholics, Protestants, and even folks of other creeds for her words of faith and simple wisdom.
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Here are 30 favorite Mother Teresa quotes (listed in no particular order).
- “A life not lived for others is not a life.”
- “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
- “God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that you try.”
- “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
- “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”
- “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
- “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”
- “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- “If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.”
- “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
- “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
- “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
- “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
- “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
“Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.”
- “Live simply so others may simply live.”
- “Peace begins with a smile.”
- “The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”
- “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
- “When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.”
- “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
- “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
- “Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
- “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
- “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
- “It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.”
- “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”
- “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
- “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
- “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”
- “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”
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Each of these quotations from Mother Teresa merits pondering, rather than speed-reading or a quick scanning. Which of these words of simple wisdom touches your heart the most?